U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano kicked off Day 2 in the round this morning with a keynote address and Q & A session.
“The message I want to share with you today is a simple one. It is that we, at the Department of Homeland Security and throughout the United States government, are fully committed both to security and to making sure the travel industry can flourish,” Napolitano said.
She told the captive audience that one of the reasons she made the trip to Las Vegas to speak at the Summit, was to deliver the message: “The Department of Homeland Security wants to engage with you,” making it clear the U.S. government knows that collaboration with the global community as well as with the private sector is absolutely key to its success.
Central to her remarks was the concept that security and economic prosperity do not have to be at odds, but are in fact interlinked. “As all of you, I think, can appreciate, one tragic event in one part of the world can have a ripple effect across the entire tourism and travel sector. This is why we have to think about security and our prosperity as being shared responsibilities.”
The Department of Homeland Security is constantly looking for new technologies that are easily implemented, scalable and cost effective. She identified the importance of the private sector to this endeavor, emphasizing that as DHS moves away from a “one size fits all” approach to security, it is truly open to adapt and change and welcomes innovative solutions.
She cited the change of the color-coded security alert advisory system as an example of smarter security. She said that the new system assumes that there are always terrorist risks, and is only raised when there is specific or credible intelligence requiring a need to raise the alert level. She stated that since the new system has begun, the alert level has not been raised – even in the wake of Osama bin Laden’s death because the intelligence did not show specific threats.